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Boosting Milk Supply

One topic that seems to connect us all as breastfeeding mothers is the universal concern that at some point or another our baby needs more milk than we can provide. Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we just need help adjusting our expectations. If you find yourself in a position where you need to boost your milk supply, we would love to offer some help!

There is no one-size-fits-all plan for making more milk, which is why it’s essential that if you feel like your milk supply is not meeting your baby’s needs it is important to work with an IBCLC to address the problem. Addressing it early provides a much better chance for the result you are looking for versus waiting. Milk production is most easily remedied in the first few weeks postpartum due to many factors, and it’s easier to help get everyone on track before poor habits are created.
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At its most basic level, milk production is governed by demand and supply. As a mother’s breasts are emptied frequently and more completely, her body gets the message to increase production.

In terms of what is most helpful for increasing milk production, here is a list for reference:

  1. Baby at breast frequently: offer both breasts at each feeding, and plan to breastfeed at least 8 to 12 times in 24 hours in the early weeks.
  2. Pump: typically right after breastfeeding to send a stronger message to your body. Often times a hospital grade pump is more effective than a personal use pump for increasing milk production.
  3. Herbal galactagogues: a fenugreek blend, malungguay and shatavari have all been attributed to some mothers feeling like their milk supply increased.
  4. Culinary galactagogues: Oatmeal, fenugreek tea, flax seed and almonds have all been attributed to some mothers feeling like their milk supply increased.

Remember that every breastfeeding mother will respond differently to each of these components, and that it is important to find the root of the reason for low supply in order to solve the problem. Low milk supply can be a result of poor breastfeeding habits, low hormones, medical conditions, an ineffective latch, breast physiology, and a whole host other reasons. That’s why finding a lactation expert can be so valuable.

Book recommendations

The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk by Diana West IBCLC and Lisa Morasco IBCLC

Defining your own success: Breastfeeding after Breast Reduction Surgery by Diana West IBCLC


Helpful websites